10 Tips to Building a More Ethical Wardrobe

Further to my recent post ‘Fashion Revolution Week – The Importance of Ethical Fashion’, I wanted to continue my series promoting Fashion Revolution Week today, and talk about ways in which we can all make small changes and work on building a more ethical wardrobe.

It doesn’t always have to be radical change.  Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference. If we each do our bit, big change can happen!

So please read on for my ’10 tips to building a more ethical wardrobe’.

Buy Less

It may seem very obvious, but buying less is a good first step to a more ethical wardrobe. Setting yourself a quantity budget each season is a good way to ensure you are only buying items you truly need and not things that you will never wear. When you are about to buy an item, really consider the purchase and ensure that you will get lots of wear out of your new garment before you hand over your cash. I always think of at least 3 things which I currently own in my wardrobe and how I could style them with my new piece before making the commitment to buy.

 Choose Quality

Quality over quantity is key. Instead of buying three cheap items, save up your money and purchase that one item that you will truly love. Choosing quality over quantity also means that your garments are more likely to fit better, last longer and therefore stand the test of time.  It also eliminates the throwaway fast fashion mentality as you will probably value your new piece of clothing much more.

Go Neutral & Classic

Stylish doesn’t have to mean following flash fads. A lot of the women I find the most stylish often have very understated wardrobes. Choosing classic colours like black, nude, grey and navy means that items are less likely to quickly go out of fashion. A white shirt, indigo jeans, little black dress, or navy cashmere sweater will never go out of style.

Shop Local

Support Australian businesses and shop local. There are a heap of independent designers right at our doorstep. Many local designers work extremely hard to create beautiful fashion and require our support to survive. There are a heap of Australian labels sourcing and making their products sustainably and ethically. You can check out Ethical Clothing Australia for a list of accredited brands. And with the rising interest and demand for ethical fashion there are many more labels popping up each and everyday.

 Shop Vintage

Finding a vintage gem is such a thrill. Whether it is at an op shop or a dedicated vintage store, shopping second hand ensures that items are not going to waste and into landfill. Not only will you be doing your bit for the environment, but chances are that your piece will be original and unique which is a big tick for personal style. You can even check out a clothing exchange store like Penny Lane , to swap or sell any pieces you no longer wear for double sustainability points!

Mend and Upcycle

Fast fashion has created a horrible ‘wear and throw out’ mentality, one which I strongly disagree with.  We need to respect the materials, labour, time and resources that go into making our clothes. Invest in quality clothing which you love and if they get a little tear or lose a button, please think twice before throwing it away. Mend your clothing, sew buttons back on, patch up tears or even add little bit of flair with embroidery or patchwork to make your item more original. Don’t be afraid to have a go, and be proud of giving your item a new life.

Participate in Swaps

Clothing exchanges and swap meets are becoming very popular of late. Events like ‘The Clothing Exchange’ are so much fun.  When you attend these events, you can usually bring  garments or fashion accessories that you no longer wear, and these are exchanged for buttons or tickets which in turn become the “currency” that you can use to purchase items brought in by other participants on the night. Some events are free, some do require a small admission fee (between $5-$25), but they are a great way to get rid of unwanted clothes and snap up a few new items at the same time, without too much hassle.

This concept is also a really fun thing to do with friends. Organise a date and a place to meet, everyone brings a number of items and you can do a swap over some cocktails or afternoon tea.

Hire Clothing

Hiring clothing is a great option if you are after a particular piece for an event which you know you probably won’t get much wear out of in the future. Think black tie dresses, or themed cocktail party frocks. If you’re low on funds and have a designer dress in mind, hiring could be the perfect option.  Companies like Your Closet or Glam Corner usually charge around 10%-20% of the recommended retail price for hire, and you receive your item together with a pre-paid package to send back to the company once you are done with it.  Easy Peasy!

Research and Support Ethical Brands

Be curious, find out and support brands who source and produce their products ethically and sustainably.  Good On You is a must have app that provides trusted ethical ratings on businesses so that you can find the brands that match your values!

Always Question Why

If an item is so cheap that it seems too good to be true, It may be that it actually is. Remember that fast fashion isn’t free, someone somewhere is paying the price.

Thank you so much for reading this article. Ethical fashion is a topic which is very close to my heart. If you found this post useful and informative please share with your friends!

And I would love to know in the comments below, what are some of your favourite ethical fashion brands?

x Luciana

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  • Great tips Luciana. I have downloaded the app too. Thanks for sharing, we all need to be mindful of the cost of over consumption and the industry’s it drives.

    • The app is great isn’t it Deb.
      I’m glad you found the tips useful! Thanks for reading xo

  • Felicia Anastasia Bardan

    I love that you write this post, it’s such an important topic. I find that as I’m getting older I am definitely more aware of buying less, less frequently but items that are higher in quality. Versatility in my clothes is also important!

    • Thanks Felicia. I definitely find that as I get older I am buying less and better quality.
      I think It makes me appreciate my clothes more! versatility is key 😉
      Thanks for reading the post x

  • These are great tips, thanks for sharing! I also have been trying to be less and better quality.

    • That’s one of the most important changes I think.
      Switching the mindset to quality over quantity.
      Glad you enjoyed the post x

  • Ricardina Guiomar Silva

    Very good tips Luciana. I wasn’t familiar with “Participate in Swaps”. It can be a good option. Like your philosophy.

    • Thanks Ricardina. The swaps are so much fun too.
      Highly recommend if you ever get the chance.

  • Dee

    Good post, Luciana!

  • So many great ideas! I love the idea of swaps – have done a couple of swaps which have been awesome AND I’m definitely trying to practice the buy less just better quality.